Expert panel appointed to contemplate

a new electoral system for South Africa

20 July 2020

Zoom Panel Discussion

Expert panel appointed to contemplate a new electoral system for South Africa

In the light of the recent Constitutional Court judgement declaring the current Electoral Act invalid, the Inclusive Society Institute has embarked on a process to design potential new electoral models for South Africa. Whilst not rigid in its thinking, the institute has mandated its research panel to design electoral models that respects the findings of the judgement, the boundaries set out in the Constitution, retains proportionality as a basis for representation and which, given the institutes driving philosophy, promotes inclusivity.

The institute has appointed an expert panel to undertake the work. They are:



Mr. Roelf Meyer

In Transformation Initiative

Chief Government negotiator during the democratic transition in South Africa, former Minister of Constitutional Development, and currently a director of the In Transformation Initiative

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Ms. Deyana Isaacs

University of Stellenbosch

She undertakes research and lectures Political Governance at the School of Public Leadership, University of Stellenbosch.

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Prof. Dirk Kotze

University of South Africa

Professor in Political Sciences at the University of South Africa (UNISA). He serves as one of the vice-presidents for of the International Political Science Association and the National Secretary of the South African Association of Political Studies.

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Prof. William Gumede

University of the Witwatersrand & Democracy Works

Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand School of Governance and Chairperson of Democracy Works Foundation.



Mr. Ebrahim Fakir

Auwil Socio-Economic Research Institute

Political commentator and Director of Programs at Auwil Socio-Economic Research Institute. Former  academic, head of political parties and parliamentary programme at EISA, visiting fellow at the Institute for Development Studies @ University of Essex, and visiting Drapre Hills Summer Fellow @ Stanford University.



Ms. Dren Nupen

Elexions Agency

Former Executive Director of the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa and former Regional Director for Africa at the Open Society Initiative. She brings extensive election experience to the dialogue.


Prof. Firoz Cachalia

University of the Witwatersrand

Professor at the Law School at the University of the Witwatersrand.



Prof. Jorgen Elklit

Aarhus University, Denmark

Current academic convenor of Aarhus University’s yearly MatchPoints seminar. He is a previous member of the South African Independent Electoral Commission, responsible for the conduct of the 1994 South African Parliamentary and Provincial Elections and secretary to the Independent Review Commission.


Prof. Cherrel Africa


University of the Western Cape

Formerly she worked at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa and has since joined the University of the Western Cape as the associate professor and chair for political sciences. She is an elections expert and experienced public commentator. She also served as an election analyst for the SABC and ENCA.



Prof. Rassie Malherbe

University of Cape Town

He currently offers an extra-curricular programme in the drafting of legislation at the University of Cape Town. He is a former professor of public law and Head of the Department of Public Law at the University of Johannesburg. He was involved in the constitution-making process in the nineties and still advises government institutions on legislative issues.

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Mr. Grant Masterson

stood in on behalf of

Dr. Denis Kadima

Electoral Institute of Southern Africa

Dr. Kadima is the current Executive Director of EISA. He previously worked for the National Democratic Institute for international Affairs as the Senior Programme Manager.



Dr. Brigalia Bam


Former Chairperson of the Independent Elections Commission of South Africa

The expert panel held its first discussion on Monday, 20 July 2020. The aim of this initial discussion was to gain a common understanding of the court’s intentions and to develop the parameters that will guide the panel’s deliberations. In further phases of the process, international electoral models that combine proportional representation with the right of independents to stand for election will be studied, proposed models will be developed, and public and stakeholder sentiments will be tested.

The institute’s findings will be presented to the political establishment and public policymakers as its contribution to the formal legislative process, for which the Constitutional Court has set two-years aside for the work to be completed.

During the next round of discussions, the panel will elaborate on the principles that should guide the electoral reform in South Africa, and the values, for example accountability, representivity and inclusivity, that should be enhanced through the new models to be proposed.